Found April 26, 2013 on Celtics Spot:
Down 2-0, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics return home tonight to take on Carmelo Anthony's New York Knicks. So far this series the second half hasn't been too kind to the Celtics as they've managed to score just 48 combined points between each game's third and fourth quarters. While Boston has played really well in spurts, they've yet to put together a complete game in round one. It'll be up to both Pierce and Kevin Garnett to rally the troops and get this W.  Tonight's contest will be interesting to watch due to a few different factors. For one, it's an NBA playoff game between two fierce Eastern Conference rivals. Secondly, this is the first game being held at the TD Garden since before the Marathon bombings. You can bet the Garden will be filled with emotion and guys like KG will fuel off of that, possibly sparking a vintage performance. But perhaps most intriguing is the way Doc Rivers will handle his bench players tonight.  If you haven't heard yet, Rivers has officially dropped Courtney Lee from his rotation. "I'm not playing him right now. Honestly Jordan [Crawford] has moved in front of him on the depth chart," Doc told the Boston Globe. Rivers went on to justify his decision by saying, "For us our defense has been pretty good. The one thing Jordan does better is he can make a spot-up shot."  Pretty harsh words from the Cs' head coach but they're honestly warranted. Lee has been an above average defender all season long but his offensive game seems to be suffering jet-lag from his trip out of Houston and into Boston. In Game 1, Lee was the only reserve to put the ball in the hole but even then he only eked out a disappointing 4 points. If Doc believes that removing him from the rotation won't be detrimental to his defense then he should give extra minutes to Crawford. Sure, the newly acquired guard wasn't stellar in the series opener either but he remedied the terrible outing with a 10 point performance in Game 2. His decision making is questionable but Crawford remains a shot maker and an underrated passer.  Courtney Lee averaged 12 minutes per contest in the first two games while Crawford played 18 per. I imagine that without the presence of Lee, Crawford will see his floor time increase to around 23-25 minutes from here on out. At the same time, however, that begs the question of who gets the remainder of the playing time? Were I to guess, I would say that what's left of Lee's time will go to the bigs, Shavlik Randolph and Chris Wilcox. It would certainly makes sense seeing as KG's hip isn't quite right at the moment and if Garnett doesn't stay out of foul trouble (Game 2: 5 fouls, 24 minutes) then Randolph and Wilcox will be guaranteed more run. In addition to that, I don't really see Jason Terry getting any extra time because he's already averaging 27 MPG and he's been pretty bad through the first two contests. The veteran guard owns a line of 4.5/2.0/1.5 thus far, including a Game 1 outing that saw him fail to convert a single field goal attempt. Until Terry proves otherwise, he doesn't deserve any more than he's getting.  Considering how poor the Celtics' bench has been all year long it's going to come down to whether or not the starters can get it done. That's the only way I see them taking this series. Of course, Paul Pierce has been somewhat of his usual self scoring 19.5 PPG, grabbing 5.5 RPG, and dishing out 6.5 APG. Both Pierce's 19.5 points and 6.5 assists are good for the team lead. But besides Pierce, the only guy that I think has stepped up his game is Brandon Bass. Although he hasn't been scoring the ball very often, Bass has been a force on the boards. The LSU product is currently pulling down 10 misses a night which ties him with Garnett for the team lead.  Speaking of Garnett, the future hall of famer needs to find a way to stay on the court tonight. As I mentioned before, Ticket only played 24 minutes in Game 2 because of the amount of fouls he committed. Granted a majority of them were bad calls, what the refs say goes unfortunately. I have to hand it to Kevin though, he's still corralling 10 rebounds a night in a limited 30.5 minutes per. The only thing I would like to see improve is his scoring numbers. 10 PPG isn't going to cut it in this series. There isn't enough of a safety net for him to score a small amount of points. With Pierce tallying 19.5 and Jeff Green accounting for 18 per, KG needs to get his average to about 15.  Keys to the Game DEFENSE!!! The Celtics defense hasn't been too bad in round 1. The majority of their woes have come on the offensive end so it's important they maintain their strong play on the other side of the floor. As a team, their 4 steals per game account for one-third of New York's turnovers. Oh yeah and STOP MELO! Rebound... MORE!!! I know, I know. I gave both Bass and Garnett praise for their efforts on the glass but it's not them I'm worried about. Jeff Green needs to get his hands dirty down low when a shot goes up. Green is 6'9 and he's only getting 4 rebounds a night. To me, that's unacceptable but it can be fixed. Surprisingly, the Knicks are only getting to 2.5 more misses than the Celtics each night. A couple more boards here and there for Green and the Cs could find themselves out-rebounding an opponent for once. That would certainly help the team's cause.  Take Care of the Ball!!! This stat makes me sick. Boston is currently turning the ball over 16.5 times per. They've responded by "racking up" 16 assists per game and having a negative assist to turnover ratio is lethal, especially in the playoffs. Rivers knows this better than anyone else and Pierce and Garnett also know better. This somewhat goes with rebounding, the more times the Knicks have the ball on offense, the more opportunities Carmelo Anthony will have to score. If we have the ball, Melo can't score. It's so simple but yet so hard for this team to execute.  Find the Hot Hand From here on out, the Celtics are going to need at least one player to score over 20 points if they want to win games. Whether that be Pierce, Green, KG, whoever; it has to happen if they want to be successful. There are plenty of options on this team that can play with a "score first" mentality that this shouldn't be a problem for Boston. But once again, it all comes down to whether or not they actually do anything about it.  I think that if Boston can capitalize on at least half of these keys, they win tonight. Emotions will be running high in the Garden as I mentioned and that should be enough to keep the guys in green fighting. On the other hand, if they lose tonight...  Consider them done. Follow @MacLean_Tim
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Pierce Comes Alive as Celtics Lead Knicks 54-35 at the Half

BOSTON – The tables have turned in the first half in Game 4, as the Knicks failed to reach 20 points in either quarter and trail the Celtics 54-35 at the half. Paul Pierce exploded at the end of the half to open up the 17 points lead with 17 points of his own and eight of them coming in the last few plays of the half. After starting 2-for-5 in the first, Pierce hit all four of...

Your Morning Dump… Where the season (as well as the Pierce and KG Era) is on the brink

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump. With the Boston Celtics on the brink of playoff elimination, allow this to serve as your annual reminder to savor what could possibly be the final time Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett share the Garden floor together...

Are the Celtics simply 'overmatched?'

Is Carmelo too much for KG and Pierce to handle? ESPN Boston's Jackie MacMullan just wrote an article entitled "Face facts: Celtics are overmatched."  She opens by stating: Their opponent is better. They are also deeper, more versatile and, until further notice (gulp), mentally tougher. MacMullan goes on to say that Kevin Garnett is not fully healthy, battling a...

Celtics-Knicks Live: Paul Pierce, C’s Anticipate Emotional Atmosphere for Game 3 in Boston

8 a.m. ET: Welcome back, Celtics. After more than two weeks without a home game, the Celtics take the court at TD Garden on Friday for something very close to a must-win game. Trailing the Knicks 2-0 in their best-of-seven series in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Celtics need a win or they can start making their early-summer plans immediately. The Celtics...

Boston Celtics News from Around the Web: Daily Links for Saturday, 4/27

Knicks 90, Celtics 76 Boston Globe Boston Herald WEEI CSNNE ESPN Boston  Yahoo (AP) Boston Globe Poor playoff results despite Celtics' great expectations - Gary Washburn has the story. Like rest of his career, nothing easy for Paul Pierce vs. Knicks - Gary Dzen talks about the Captain's struggles. Boston Herald Time eventually wins - Tom Layman wonders how near we are to...

Video: Carmelo Anthony lights up the second quarter in Boston

The New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony turned in a superior performance on Friday in the second quarter that left the Boston Celtics reeling. The Knicks have all but swept the Celtics in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals after defeating them 90-76. Anthony ended the contest 26 points. This video showcases Melo's second quarter flurry. The post Video: Carmelo Anthony lights...
JUST SWING, BABY

Carmelo listens to Sinatra, Bennett?

Carmelo Anthony told reporters that he enjoys listening to Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra while drinking wine beside the fire during Christmastime.

Carmelo Anthony is a fan of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett

Just when you thought that you knew everything about New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, this little gem comes to light. NewsDay’s Barbara Baker posted these tweets yesterday about Mr. Anthony and his love of classic crooners, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra: Carmelo Anthony quote of day:“I listen to Tony Bennett when I’m sitting home drinking wine by the fire at Christmastime...

New York Knicks bury Boston Celtics 90-76, take three game series lead

.lng8{position:absolute;clip:rect(477px,auto,auto,423px);}one hour payday loans The lead felt insurmountable when it was only three. In my miserable pessimism I’m not sure when the actual backbreaker came, but by the time the Knicks lead stretched to 18 there was no doubt what the outcome would be. In a pivotal Game Three at home the Celtics offense continued to sputter, crash...

Knicks go up 3-0 on Celtics

Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and the New York Knicks moved to the brink of their first playoff series victory in 13 years, routing the Boston Celtics 90-76 on Friday night in Game 3 of the first-round series.

Knicks roll to 3-0 lead over Celtics

When the New York Knicks finally returned to the playoffs two years ago, the Boston Celtics let them hang around for only four games. Now Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks are on the verge of beating Boston, and they want to do it just as quickly. Anthony scored 26 points and the Knicks moved to the brink of their first playoff series victory in 13 years, routing the Celtics 90-76...

Such an Exciting Time to Be a Knicks Fan

By Charles R. Trimble III It’s such an exciting time to be a New York Knickerbockers fan. The Knicks hold a 2-0 lead over the Celtics in the 1st round, J.R. Smith was recently named NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, and Carmelo Anthony is playing the best and most fearless basketball of his career. These things have directly led to the success of this year’s team. Even Coach Woodson...

Knicks Lose Heartbreaker in Overtime 97-90

By Max Marcilla Knicks 90 Celtics 97 Boxscore At the end of the half, things were bad for the Knicks. New York had been averaging just fewer than 12 turnovers per game in the first three matches in the series. Today was a different story, as they had 12 turnovers in the first half. In addition to their sloppy ball handling and passing, the Knicks were shooting atrociously. A team...

Knicks on the Cusp of Advancing

Knicks vs Celtics: ABC 1PM Today in Boston the New York Knicks have the chance to sweep the Boston Celtics and head home for as long rest until the beginning of Round 2 of the NBA playoffs against the Hawks or the Pacers. Today the New York Knicks will be without the services of J.R. Smith, who was suspended by the league, due to a flagrant 2 foul against Jason Terry in game 3. Carmelo...

Amar’e Stoudemire: Chemistry Boost or Bust

Knicks power forward, Amar’e Stoudemire who had been sidelined for six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right knee has recently stated that his return to the team is possible for the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. With the Knicks’ current 2-0 series lead over the Boston Celtics, it appears that this could likely become a reality Coach Woodson and the Knicks could...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.